TODAY’S READING: JEREMIAH 5-8
God’s instruction for Jeremiah to search for the righteous (5:1-9); God’s promise to judge the wicked (5:10-6:30); Jeremiah’s first message to the people concerning their faith in the temple and external religion (7:1-8:3); Jeremiah’s message concerning rejecting the truth of God’s Word (8:4-22).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Before God actually begins to EMPOWER Jeremiah to preach against the people in chapter 7, He takes the events recorded in the first six chapters to IMPASSION him. As chapter 5 begins, God doesn’t send Jeremiah on a “search and destroy mission,” but a “search so I won’t destroy mission”! God wants Jeremiah to understand the depth to which His people had apostacized, and why His judgment against them was so deserved. Just as Ezekiel went looking for one single man in his day to make up the hedge and stand in the gap, God tells Jeremiah to see if he, too, could just find one man somewhere in the land who simply sought truth and executed judgment. Just as Ezekiel’s search ended with the pitiful words, “But I found none,” (Ezek. 22:30), Jeremiah’s search produced the same result. The people were so incredibly perverted in their thinking, they even viewed God’s mercy as weakness (5:11-13). Through the “fiery” preaching of Jeremiah (5:14), God promises the invasion of a might!
y army to destroy them. Allow verse 31 of chapter 5 not only to acquaint you with the horrific spiritual climate of Jeremiah’s day, but our own day: “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so.” It is simply another way of saying what Paul wrote concerning our day: “After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:3-4).
As we move into chapter 6, it becomes clear why Judah had become so debauched that God says that “from the least of them even to the greatest of them everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest every one dealeth falsely” (6:13). The key is in verse 10. Very simply, the people had come to the place that the Word of God held no delight or significance in their hearts. It is a great commentary on how America has gotten to the place it has, and where things are heading for churches where week after week, from the pulpit, and in the personal lives of the people, truth sits forsaken. It’s a great time to be reminded that the goal of our 365 Days of Pursuit isn’t simply to get through the Word of God, but to so delight ourselves in the God of the Word, that we allow His Word to get through us, and find a resting place everywhere it “reproves, rebukes, and/or exhorts” us (II Tim. 4:2).
As we come into chapter 7, God now takes the things He revealed to Jeremiah in chapters 1-6, and turns him loose to carry out the six-fold ministry he described in chapter 1 and verse 10. God strategically places Jeremiah at the entrance to the Temple so he can specifically confront those who thought that because of their great Temple (7:4) and their activity there, that they were doing fine spiritually. Never confuse “blessings” and busyness at church with spirituality. God’s words through Jeremiah are just as pertinent today as they were then: “For if ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever." The New Testament equivalent might be II Cor. 7:1 – “Ha!
ving therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." The entire chapter emphasizes the fact that our personal and holy God is neither impressed nor the least bit interested in external religion.
In chapter 8, Jeremiah’s message to the people was similar to his message in chapter 7. The same attitude the people had about themselves spiritually because they were in possession of the Temple (7:4), they also had about themselves because they were in possession of the Law of Moses (8:8). Again, it is such a reminder that God is interested in so much more than that we go to church and read our Bible. Obviously, those things have their place, but God is interested in holding His rightful place as Lord in our lives!
Because of the Laodicean implications and applications, notice that much of Judah’s problem was that their spiritual leaders did not properly proclaim the truth of God’s Word (8:8-12). Their prophets turned the truth of God into lies (II Tim. 4:4), telling the people that it was no problem for them to continue living the lives they were living, everything was going to be all right. The question today is not, “where is the Lord God of Jeremiah?” But, “where are the Jeremiah’s of the Lord God?” Pray that God would use your pastors as “Jeremiahs” in these spiritually dark Laodicean days.
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE ONE WHO DEMANDED A CLEANSED TEMPLE – Jer. 7:1-11 (Mark 11:17)